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Concerns about potential EU sanctions before elections in Hungary

April 21st, 2021

With almost one third of the population vaccinated against Covid-19, a pro-government commentator believes the government could feel optimistic about next year’s elections, were it not for a threat from within the European Commission to cut back funds earmarked for Hungary.

In Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Bartal quotes polls showing unfavourable trends in consumer confidence indexes in the wake of the economic difficulties caused by the Covid pandemic. He hopes however that with falling Covid death rates and growing mass immunity, the economy may slowly get back to normal, which is bound to boost consumer confidence – well in time for the parliamentary elections a year from now. He claims that a threat to reduce EU fund transfers to Hungary was intended to undermine that process. Bartal quotes a Bloomberg interview with European Commission Vice President Ms Věra Jourová in mid March, about her intention to hold back millions of Euros from Hungary by the end of the year. He ends by quoting Bloomberg’s own comment at the end of the interview: ‘The timeline described by Jourová means that the new powers would be operational before Hungarian elections early next year. Orbán’s party is trailing in the polls against a united opposition and financial penalties could hurt his chances of turning that situation around.’

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